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Posted on in Paternity

denial of paternity, paternity law, Illinois family law attorneyUnlike decades ago, when most children were born into the "traditional" family – where the biological mother and father were married – in today’s society, there are a variety of different familial scenarios into which a child may be born.  As such, there is great deal of information available when it comes to legally establishing paternity for a child, both from a mother’s point of view and from a father’s point of view. One topic that is not commonly discussed is how a may legally deny paternity.

The law in Illinois regarding paternity is an interesting one, as it must account for a number of potential situations. If a woman is not married to the child’s father when she conceives or gives birth, then there are certain steps the parents must take in order to legally establish paternity of the child. Under the law, there are three acceptable ways to establish paternity:

  • Both parents must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) document in order for the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate. By signing a VAP, the father is not only acknowledging paternity, but also acknowledging that he understands that he could be held legally responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses for the child;
  • If the father has not signed a VAP, the State of Illinois& Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services can enter an Administrative Paternity Order; or
  • An Order of Paternity can also be entered into by a judge.

If a woman is married at the time she conceives or gives birth to a child, then the state says her husband is the legal father of that child.  The state makes this assumption whether or not the husband actually is the biological father of the child. That means unless there is some legal action which removes the husband as the child’s legal father, the state will hold him responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses. The child would also be legally entitled to a portion of the husband’s estate should he pass away.

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